Sweeper arrested for ‘molesting’ Class I student of Kalyan school
Kalyan: A 47-year-old sweeper has been arrested for allegedly molesting a six-yearold girl student inside a boys’ toilet in an English medium school at Kalyan on Tuesday. Before the child’s parents approached the police, the school conducted an internal inquiry and sacked the accused as well as the woman staffer posted at the girls’ toilet for not being present at the spot when the crime was committed.
The Class I student had entered the boy’s toilet next to the one for girls by mistake to wash her hands when the accused, who was cleaning the cubicles, allegedly molested her. She had entered the toilet to wash her hands after the lunch break.
The arrested accused has been identified as Pradeep Mahajan, who is a resident of Kalyan’s Khadegolivali area.
Khadakpada police said Mahajan war- ned the child against telling anyone of the incident. She did as told that day but the next day, on Wednesday, she gathered courage and informed her mother of what had happened. Her parents immediately approached the school principal and demanded action against Mahajan. As the parents had reached the school late in the evening, the principal requested them to return on Thursday morning so that the school could conduct an internal probe. The school fired Mahajan and the woman staffer on Thursday. Later that evening, the family approached Khadakpada police who arrested Mahajan late at night from his residence.
He has been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 354 for molestation and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act’s Section 12 for sexual harassment. Balasaheb Kadam, senior police inspector of Khadakpada police station, said, “Immediately after the complainant approached us, we sent across a team and arrested the accused. Further probe is on in the case.”
The school principal told TOI: “Services of the housekeeping staff are outsourced. Mahajan, who was employed by that company, was given the charge of keeping a watch on boys’ toilet and cleaning work. After parents approached us, we conducted an inquiry and immediately sacked Mahajan and a woman staffer posted at the girls’ toilet as she was not present at the time of the incident.”
The molestation incident created panic among other parents who have demanded strict action against the accused. He was produced before the Kalyan sessions court on Friday and on the grounds of being a tuberculosis patient, sent to judicial custody. Cops said Mahajan denied molesting the child. He said he had taken off his shirt while cleaning the toilet and that the child got frightened on seeing him and fled.